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Notch Lake – Uinta Mountains

North East Utah - Uinta Mountains


Mountains, lakes, rivers, wild flowers, mountain goats, deer, fish


5.4 miles round trip

Parking Lot Elevation

10,780 ft

Summit Elevation

Parking lot is highest point

Elevation Gain/Loss

-600 ft

Time Required

1.5 - 4 hrs round trip





Water Info

Non potable. Plenty of streams and lakes.

Best Season

Late summer or early fall



Sun Exposure


Trail Condition

Rocky but obvious


At Trailhead

Visitor Center

Kamas, Ut


Of course


None. Bring plenty.


Not a complete list:

Nike Quick Dry Long sleeve shirt
Columbia Hiking Pants
Smart Wool Socks
Stoic Stash rain jacket
Stoic Hadron down pullover
Asolo TPS 520 boots
Outdoor Research Halo Sombrero


Mountain Smith 100L backpack
REI Nitelite tent
Stoic 15º Sleeping bag
Thermorest (old and heavy design)
MSR Whisperlite International
Platypus Gravityworks Filter

GPS Coordinates:

Trailhead: 40.688944°,-110.903903°
Clegg Lake: 40.697292°,-110.925249°
Dean Lake: 40.701204°,-110.929747°
Notch Lake: 40.705554°,-110.931510°

Trail Map

Driving Directions

The Trail:

Starting the hike to Notch Lake.

Starting the hike to Notch Lake.

August 2nd, 2014 we set out in the evening after work. The trail starts at the Bald Mountain Trailhead and meanders around the South side of Bald Mountain. It remains relatively flat and easy. The flowers were in full bloom!


Clegg Lake at Dusk.

Clegg Lake at Dusk.

At 1.8 miles we came to Clegg Lake. I have read that the far side of Clegg Lake can make decent camping. No one usually stops here. However, the trail wraps around the south and west shores and I can’t imagine it being private and quiet unless you camp a good ways away from the lake, in towards Bald Mountain.


Notch Lake and stars.

Notch Lake and stars from the shore below our campsite.

At 2.7 miles we arrived at the swampy tip of Notch Lake. My immediate thought is to always get far off the trail and find someplace quiet to camp. There were quite a few campfires burning on the north side of the lake. So we hiked .3 miles along the south shore to the base of the cliffs on the west side. We found a couple of great campsites!


In the morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we got up and explored the area.

On the Cliffs above Notch Lake.

On the Cliffs above Notch Lake.

We climbed up the cliffs and hiked around Notch Lake and up to Bench Lake. The view from the cliffs is great, and it is a simple and quick hike. To our surprise we found a series of climbing routes bolted in the cliffs!

Stump sitting in Notch Lake.

Stump sitting in Notch Lake.

There are decent fish in Notch.

There are decent fish in Notch.

Trying unsuccessfully to catch some fish.

Trying unsuccessfully to catch some fish.

There seemed to be decent fish in Notch Lake, though I don’t have any reports on how good the fishing is. Next time I’ll bring my pole and try it out.

Goats on a Ledge.

Goats on a Ledge.

Above Bench lake we spotted a small group of Mountain Goats. I’ve heard from many people that the goats often come down and drink from the lakes.

Bench Lake Salamander.

Bench Lake Salamander.

Bench Lake doesn’t have any fish to speak of. But boy did it have a salamander population! The shores were wriggling with salamanders.

A View of Bench Lake.

A View of Bench Lake.

Flowers were in full bloom.

Flowers were in full bloom.



Calvin, the courageous Chipmunk.

Calvin, the courageous Chipmunk.

Watch out for rodents. There were lots of squirrels and chipmunks eager to find our food stashes. After our hike exploring the area, we had a little fun with Calvin. Video to come…perhaps.


The Return:

You have two options: go back the way you came, which is what we did. Or make the loop, going north around Notch Mountain, past Ibantik and Lovenia Lakes, up through the Notch pass, and into the Trial Lake area. You will need a shuttle to complete this second option.

Personal Thoughts:

Notch lake was a rewarding overnighter. The hike was easy, beautiful, and well marked. While the area was crowded, we were able to find a private and quiet campsite right off Notch Lake. We found plenty more campsites with easy access to the lakes. This backpacking trip is appropriate for all skill levels.

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Other Resources:

Here are some helpful external resources I used when planning my trip. Maybe they will help you too:

Notch Lake from the Utah Guide Book Utah’s Incredible Backcountry Trails

Fishing Info for Uintas

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Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
A man of adventure and generally swell guy. He was born, and has been winging it since then.

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3 Comments on "Notch Lake – Uinta Mountains"

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This is a very picturesque lake and you can get great photos (as evident by this post). There are also lots of mountain goats in the area. When I camped here (it was mid-August) there was a herd of about 30 that would come down at sunrise and sunset to graze on the south side of the lake then go back into the mountains. This was my first backpacking trip and it was well worth it.

Kaden Error

Im looking to do a week long survival campout, I don’t I need to be in solitude, but I do want privacy. Do you think this would be a good spot to set up?